When we talk of treasure, what usually comes to our mind is money, silver and gold, and other valuables like lands, houses, cars, etc.
The Apostle Paul said, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 15:50) and Job said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither” (Job 1:21 KJV). The Bible teaches us, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7 KJV). Obviously and indisputably, there is nothing material or anything of this world that could be brought by anyone who goes to heaven. Even the Lord Jesus Christ did not ascend to heaven until his body was changed into an incorruptible and glorified body upon his resurrection (Acts 1:9).
What then is the treasure being referred to by Jesus Christ when he taught his disciples saying “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:20, 21), since no material or earthly thing can enter heaven? This means that all the material things that we possess and accumulate while we live on earth will be left behind.
There are those for whom Jesus Christ died in the cross of Calvary who are absorbed in providing themselves with temporal or material things that will remain on earth. At the same time they are neglecting the preparation of character which would fit them for an abode in the mansions which Jesus Christ has prepared for them (John 14:1-3) and whose precious souls he redeemed or purchased at an infinite price by the shedding of his blood or ransom by his own life (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all things you have need of shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). Jesus, who has paid the ransom for the souls of his human creation, requires that they shall subordinate temporal or material interests to the heavenly interests. He would have them cease to indulge in hoarding up earthly treasures, in spending money upon luxuries, and in surrounding themselves with those things which are not really needed, or are more than needed in this earthly life.
By choosing to lay up treasure in heaven, our character will be molded after the likeness of Christ. The world will see that our hopes and plans are made in reference to the advancement of the truth and the salvation of perishing souls.
In securing treasure in heaven, we place ourselves in living connection with God, who owns all the treasures of the earth and supplies all material things or temporal matters that are essential for life.
Every soul may and has the opportunity to secure the inheritance of eternal life in heaven. It is the highest wisdom to live in such a way as to secure eternal life. This may be done by not living in the world for ourselves but by living for God, by passing our resources on to a world where it will never perish. By using our resources which include time, treasure and talent, to advance the cause of God, our uncertain riches are placed in an unfailing bank. Every sacrifice made for the purpose of blessing or helping others, every appropriation of means for the service of God, leading to the salvation of soul, will be treasure laid up in heaven. The souls brought to the Kingdom of God are considered “treasures” of God in heaven. To bring souls to the kingdom of God requires hard work and financial self-sacrifices. Thus, if one give to the needy or for the advancement of the gospel say P37,000.00, how many liters of gasoline or tanks of Gasul (LPG) that money could buy for the benefactor? This is self-sacrifice. On the other hand, the beneficiary will experience unspeakable joy, and this may yet be a bridge to ones finding eternal life in heaven through faith in Christ Jesus.
This is the reason why in the book of proverbs, it is said, “… give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name” (Prov. 30:8-9 NLT). Stated otherwise, it is better to be a blessing than hoard riches which will be left behind after all. “Blessed is he that considereth the poor, the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble” (Ps. 41:1 KJV). And then, we are admonished, “Don’t weary yourself trying to get rich, why waste your time? For riches can disappear as though they had the wings of a bird!” (Prov. 23:4 NLT).
To God, the most important are the souls of men. To save souls, he volunteered to have his son shed his precious blood in the cross of calvary to atone or cover the sins of the sinner. Indeed, a supreme sacrifice of life for life. “He gave his life as ransom (redemption) for many (those who believe on His Son and accept Him as their only Savior, and willing to, and do, confess their sins (Isa. 53:12). There is no exception. This is the only way to heaven! Thus, the Psalmist David said, “… there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Ps. 53:3 KJV). No matter how good a person is, he cannot be good enough to qualify for heaven without believing, accepting Jesus Christ by faith as his only savior, and no one else (as He is the only way) and, of course, must confess his sins (1 John 1:9). No one can save himself! It is clear that, “God saved you by his special favor when you believed, and you can’t take credit for this; it is the gift of God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Eph. 2:8-9 NLT).
Many years in the past, I evangelized my own older brother, Benjamin. I invited him to attend my Sunday School class in our church. To make my invitation attractive, after the service, I invited him to eat lunch in my home which is nearer to the Church than the parsonage. I saw to it that he was served his favorite menu. I really do not know if what interested him to attend Sunday School class from Sunday to Sunday henceforth were the lessons he learned or he attended expecting that afterwards he would partake of a sumptuous lunch. It could be both. I would then study harder and teach as best as I could being conscious that my own brother in the flesh was in my class. Consequently, for six consecutive years and many years thereafter (Praise God!), I was awarded the accolade “Best Sunday School Teacher of the Year” and my prize was a trip with my wife to the U.SA., to be the guest of honor and speaker of the Filipino-U.S. Family Camp in Sonora, California. I was also itinerized to speak in California churches for a month. On that same trip, I had the privilege of meeting personally Demos Shakarian, the founder of Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship Int’l. (FGBMFI) in his own house, having been brought there by then FGBMFI Global Manager, Jun Pascua, a Filipino and my kababata from Kapalong, Davao del Norte. That was the time he was just deposed as President of FGBMFI. When I was introduced to him as the President of FGBMFI, Davao City, Philippines, Demos cried like a baby, and asked me, “Brother, can you please pray for me?” I was then relatively young as a Christian, so you can just imagine my nervousness in praying for our founder such that I can no longer remember today what I said. But miraculously, not because of my prayer may be, he was restored to his presidency until his demise. To God be the glory!
Later on, my brother who was converted by the Holy Spirit, asked for a Bible from me. When someone ask for a bible, this is a strong indication of genuine conversion. I gave him a Thompson Chain Reference Bible, then the most expensive Bible in Davao City. He attended Sunday School and our church services religiously, and I noticed the transformation in his life. When he passed away, I was at his bedside, I had the privilege to say automatically, “Lord, into your hands I commend his spirit”, quoting one of the utterances of the Lord Jesus in the cross of Calvary. This was the only occasion that someone passed away in my presence. I am sure, his spirit is now with the Lord. If I reach to heaven myself, and I hope so, at least I am sure of a treasure waiting for me. Notice that I had to devote time, efforts and spend money for lunch and buy for him an expensive Bible. Thus, evangelism requires time, effort and money which are only earthly treasures. What counts is the resulting treasure – the saved soul – a treasure in heaven.
Souls are the only treasure that can be laid up in heaven, nothing else. Let us strive to lay up treasures in heaven. (FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, April 28, 2012)